Narain Karthikeyan

So I went to post Narain's response to Vettel's comments on his thread only to find out that he is the only driver on the current grid who doesn't have one! bless his little cotton socks. So I thought I'd write him one.

Born in Madras in 1977 the son of a rally driver and also related to Indian motorsports legend Karivardhan its not surprising that Narain grew up with the ambition to be India's first ever F1 driver and if you look at his junior career its no surprise really he made it. He won British Formula Ford in 1994. He won Formula Asia in 1996. He came 4th in the championship for the Stewart team in British Formula 3 in 2000 and then spent the next 4 years working his way up the leader boad in the Formula Nissan World Series until he managed to strike a deal with the declining Jordon team.

It was Feb 1st 2005 when Karthikeyan singed his deal to be one of Jordon's lead drivers for the upcoming season and thus promising to be India's first F1 driver. He gained his superlicence on Feb 10th and the deal was certain and whilst there is no doubt that a healthy wad of cash helped him get that Jordan seat he wasn't judged at the time as being completely out of his depth and pretty much kept pace with his more rated team-mate Tiago Monteiro. Karthikeyan's 'day of glory' came on the 'day of shame' for F1 at the U.S Grand Prix of 2005 when only 6 cars took to the start after a tyre issue - this meant that Karthikeyan scored 4th place and 5 points meaning not only is he the first driver from India to drive in F1 but he is also the most succesful (thak that Chandhock!). It seemed Karthikeyan was set for a second season with Jordan until Jordan were no more and became Midland. Apparently Midland asked Karthakeyan for 11.7 Million U.S Dollers in turn for him to keep his seat in 2006. Narain scoffed at the idea and was quoted as saying "I'll learn far more from being a tester at one of the bigger teams anyways". He promptly landed himself the job as test driver at Williams mainly because Tata were his and Williams main sponsor at the time. He got his first outing for Williams in December 2005 at a test in Spain where he posted the 5th fastest time of the day outpacing Williams newly signed superstar Nico Rosberg who could only managed 9th. Although he continued as test driver for Williams in 2007 as well he was mainly sidelined behind Nakajima due to the withdrawl of Tata from Williams sponsorship list.

It was in 2007 that Narain too on the job of leading Team India in A1GP. He actually scored 2 victories in the series, one in China and one in Britain at Brands Hatch and continued into the 2008 season and although he scored no more victories he was runner up at Brands Hatch once again. It was 2008 when he was linked to both Force India and Super Aguri but neither of those deals came off in the end and in 2009 Narain decided to turn his hand in the Le Mans series in a team run by Colin Kolles with Christian Albers as his partner. Disappointingly Narain was ruled out of the actual Le Mans race after looking strong in practice after he fell and dislocated his shoulder. In 2010 Karthikeyen went over to the U.S to take part in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and whilst he failed to set the series alight he became the first none American winner of the Most Popular Driver Award voted for by fans.

2011 finally saw the Narain get the call back to F1 he never thought he'd get when on Jan 6th 2011 he was announced as the new driver for HRT. Narain will be the first to tell you that Tata's backing of HRT played no small part in his return but he himself is quoted as saying that although this move to F1 would probably wipe out all the money he'd earned from other series that he didn't want to live with the 'what if' of not having taken it. Unfortunately due to the uncompetitive nature of the HRT Karthikeyan broke an F1 record twice that he wouldn't have wanted too. He came 23rd in the Chinese Grand Prix and 24th in the European Grand Prix meaning he has the two lowest classes finishing positions of any F1 driver. On the 30th June it was announced Ricciardo would replace Karthikeyen for the rest of the season with Narain coming back for the Indian GP later that year. He took Liuzzi's seat for the Indian GP that year and actually did a stellar job and pretty much kept pace with the highly rated Ricciardo and indeed finished in front of him in 17th on race day. For all of us though we accepted that the first Indian GP was the swansong for India's first GP driver. However we were all wrong.

Narain Karthikeyan's F1 drives are a bit like Police Acadamy movies. Just when you think its finished they make another one. Much to everyone surprise it was announced on February 3rd 2012 that HRT has resigned Karthikeyan again probably in no small part to the backing of Tata. So once again Narain is one of the 24 F1 drivers and while he is much ridiculed and perceived of not deserving to be here it is worth remembering he has shown far more promise than some who have driven in F1, Fangio he ain't but lets not get him confused with Sakon Yamamoto or Phillipe Adams shall we? On top of which you can't help but have a soft spot for Narain because he's actually a lovely bloke. He'll need a lot of luck in that HRT though.
7-tenths slower than his own team-mate in Quali. Wouldn't let him wash my car, never mind drive it.

Yet on average 3 tenths a lap quicker than him in the race its an odd one ain't it? Its a shame you won't let him wash your car because he prob has a bit of money in his pocket and he'd take it one of these classy places where they clean it inside and out.
No 'prob' about it, he does have plenty of money in his pocket. Or rather, more the point, money that's now in HRT's pocket, it's the only reason he's anywhere near an F1 car :) (btw, I happen to believe HRT themselves shouldn't be anywhere near the grid but that's another topic altogether.)
I read it, and admired your optimism :) I think NK will be lucky if he's not gone by mid-season, replaced by the next daft sod who wants to throw his family cash to the wind. I'll be even more surprised if HRT are still on the grid next season, I mean no driver is ever going to flatter a car that's 4-5 seconds off the pace, but come on.
I read it, and admired your optimism :) I think NK will be lucky if he's not gone by mid-season, replaced by the next daft sod who wants to throw his family cash to the wind. I'll be even more surprised if HRT are still on the grid next season, I mean no driver is ever going to flatter a car that's 4-5 seconds off the pace, but come on.

I think despite the fact that they look a bit foolish sometimes I reckon the HRT boys in some form or other (not ruling out name changes) are here to stay and good for them how boring F1 would be without the little teams who aren't just a b-team for the big boys.
Personally, I wouldn't notice a difference if either HRT or Marussia packed up and went home tomorrow, never to return. Same as I wouldn't notice the difference if NK left and was replaced by another pay-as-you-play journeyman. They're a mile off where even teams like Minardi used to be. They remind me of Tyrrell towards their end around 95-96, I used to think 'what's the point, just give it up, you're going nowhere'. I understand NK wants to be in F1, even if he has to pay for the priviledge, i'd probably do the same myself. But I can't help thinking that all he's achieving is keeping a more promising young driver (and there are plenty out there) out of a seat (you only have to look at Trulli for a prime example). :)
I find his drivin dangerous, it takes him a sector or two to get out of the way from those that are lapping him, surprised he hasn't had many incidents because of this. The other slow 5 cars managed to get out of the way with ease, but with Khartikyan it's a challenge.

Yes he has a race of his own, but when even on a straight he doesn't give way.
It doesn't matter how often I look at the replay, all I can see is Vettel moving across to the racing line before he's cleared Karthikeyan. Remarks from the commentary team immediately placed the fault with Vettel. I can't figure how the stewards can see it differently but obviously they did. I'm sure more will be said about this, and Vettels response.
Only two GP's into the season and Vettel is already showing signs of frustration. Things have suddenly got a lot tougher now he's lost his car advantage. Regardless of that it's not a good look to be publicly calling a fellow competitor an idiot. There's so much arrogance in the Red Bull camp. The odd man out in that regard is Webber. A more down to earth character your never likely to meet.
You only have to look at the efforts di Resta made to get out of the way, albeit on a different part of the circuit, to see how it's done properly. Karthikeyan could quite easily have stopped by the side of the track for a coffee and a fag to let Vettel and Hamilton through and still have finished last.
Top Bottom